To celebrate being 100 years young, The Ivy has launched a cocktail menu in the form of a programme for a 1920s playlet.
The menu, in five parts, theatrically walks the customer through distinct eras in the cocktail and restaurant world. Created by bar manager Darren Ball, The Centennial Twist or Did the Bartender Really Do It?, opens with the champagne cocktail era, through Prohibition and out the other side to Swinging London, on to the fascination with food in the Age of the Bar Chef and closes with The Dry Bar, an entire section/ act dedicated to the low and no-alcohol present day.
‘Creating a cocktail menu that celebrates 100 years of The Ivy was an intriguing challenge,’ Ball told Imbibe. ‘It was a great opportunity to create a menu more enticing than ever before.’
A great opportunity, but also a big responsibility. ‘As well as telling a story, it’s important that the menu helps the guest hone in on the style of cocktail they like and enables them to make an informed decision,’ Ball said. ‘This is very important in a bar, if a guest isn’t keen on their first cocktail, they will probably try a different one next.
‘In a restaurant, guests rarely choose a second and perhaps look elsewhere for their drinks. It’s essential to impress with that first drink so the guest is satisfied with their selection and enjoys the rest of the meal – whether choosing to switch to wine or drink cocktails throughout.’
The Ivy cocktail menu and bar mean business. Following a five-month closure and complete refurbishment, the bar takes centre stage and produces upwards of 1,000 cocktails a week.
Kylie Minogue kicked the centenary celebrations off with a performance at the Ivy before her show at the Royal Albert Hall in December. Other famous faces will be performing theatrical vignettes in the restaurant throughout its birthday year.
Food will naturally play a starring role in The Ivy’s birthday revelries. During the first three months of the year the pre and post theatre menus will be priced at £19.17 to commemorate the year of opening and will feature classic dishes from The Ivy’s past.
A gin release is also imminent. The historic restaurant has been working closely with Chase Distillery to create its own juniper offering inspired by the British countryside.